What Do You Want to Be?
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“What Do You Want to Be?” Friend, May 1996, 19

What Do You Want to Be?

Ev’ryone is needed For just what he can do. You’re the only person Who ever can be you. (Children’s Songbook, pages 142–143.)

What a great day! Jody Ann thought. She loved spending Saturdays with her grandparents. Today they’d gone to the zoo, eaten a picnic lunch, and watched a movie. Now they were home. Grandpa was in the living room, reading the newspaper, Grandma was taking a bath, and Jody Ann was busily writing at the kitchen table.

“How’s it going in there, Jody Ann?” called Grandpa.

“I’m almost finished.” She got up and went into the living room and sat down close to Grandpa.

Grandpa lowered his newspaper. “What are you working on?”

“We had Career Week at school last week, and some parents came in to talk about their jobs. On Friday Mr. Clark told us to write a paper about what we want to be when we grow up.

Grandpa put the newspaper down. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I’m going to be a doctor.”

Grandpa’s eyes sparkled. “That’s my girl!” he said. “Help the sick. Keep people healthy. I think that’s great!”

“I have a doctor’s kit, and I practice on my dolls.”

“I’m sure they’re the healthiest dolls in town,” Grandpa said quite seriously. Then he added, “Doctor Jody.”

Jody Ann giggled. “Yep, when I grow up I’m going to be a doctor—and a teacher.”

“A teacher too?” There was surprise in Grandpa’s voice.

“Sure, I can teach children how to count and help them learn the alphabet. I can tell them why things grow and why leaves turn yellow in the fall and … and … all sorts of things!”

“Well, it sounds like you’ll be a good doctor and a good teacher.”

“Uh-huh. And a good chef.”

Grandpa blinked. “Pardon me?”

“I’m going to be a chef, too,” she explained. “Just like Brian’s dad. He works in a fancy restaurant and wears a tall white hat.”

Grandpa licked his lips. “I’ll be your best customer,” he joked. “A doctor, a teacher, and a chef. It sounds as if you’ll be busy.”

“I sure will be,” Jody Ann replied. “I also want to sew clothing. Mom said she’d teach me how.”

Grandpa whistled. “So you’re going to be a seamstress too.”

“Yes, and an interior decorator, like Emily’s mom. She helps people pick out paints and wallpaper and furniture for their houses. She brought some pictures of rooms she’s decorated to class. They were beautiful! I want to do that too.”

Grandpa tried to look at Jody Ann with a stern expression, but there was a twinkle in his eye. “You’ll have to study hard in school to do all those things, young lady.”

Jody Ann nodded.

“So far you’ve told me that you want to be a doctor, a teacher, a chef, a seamstress, and an interior decorator,” Grandpa said. “If you’re going to be all those things, why not be an accountant, too—like your old Gramps?”

Jody Ann stood up and gave Grandpa a kiss on the cheek. “You’re not old,” she told him, sitting down again. “What’s an accountant?”

“Simply stated, I keep track of all the money that comes in and all the money that goes out,” Grandpa explained.

“Oh, that’s like the budget Mom and Dad have for our family. It tells them how much money has to go for food and clothes and”—she laughed—“well, how much is left over for allowances and fun things.”

“Does it sound interesting?” Grandpa asked.

“Yes, I’d better be an accountant too.”

A smile spread over Grandpa’s face. “Is there anything else you’d like to be?” Jody Ann’s eyes lit up. “There’s one more thing,” she said. “What would you call someone who sings and dances and makes children laugh?”

“I’d call her an entertainer. I guess you want to be one of those too?”

Once more Jody Ann nodded. She noticed Grandma standing in the doorway, listening to their conversation and trying not to laugh at the expression on Grandpa’s face.

“Let me get this straight,” Grandpa said. “When you grow up, you’re going to be a doctor, a teacher, a chef, a seamstress, an interior decorator, an accountant like me, and an entertainer. Is that right?”

“That’s right.”

Grandpa motioned Jody Ann onto his lap. “I’m really proud of you. You certainly are an ambitious young lady.” He cleared his throat, and a little frown tugged at the corners of his mouth. “I don’t want to spoil your dreams, Jody Ann, but there is no way in the world that you or anyone else could be all those things at once.”

Jody Ann glanced at Grandma. Grandma winked. “Yes there is,” Jody Ann insisted.

Grandpa shook his head. “I don’t see how.”

Jody Ann looked into Grandpa’s puzzled face. She put her arms around his neck and told him, with a laugh in her voice, “When I grow up I’m going to be a wife and mother, just like mom and grandma. They do all of those things at home!”

Grandpa’s puzzled look was replaced with an understanding smile. “An excellent career choice!”

Illustrated by Julie F. Young